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5000 Year Old Milk Temple of Lord Shiva 4759 Uttarpradesh,(India)

5000 Year Old Milk Temple of Lord Shiva 4759 Uttarpradesh
In India from time immemorial, absolute Brahma is being worshipped in the Linga Form.  The Jyothirlinga is a representation of devotional object, an aspect of God in Hinduism, the shrine of Supreme Lord Shiva who is worshipped in this form.  He is the presiding Deity of crematorium where the impure body travels for its final Journey, where the body gets purified by His Grace and attains Salvation. There are many temples for Lord Shiva in each and every corner of India from North to South and also exists in other parts of the world like Nepal, Pakistan, SriLanka, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Java, Sumatra etc. He is the one of the most powerful deity among Hindu Gods, who when worshipped with full devotion bestows numerous boons upon his devotees and protects them from Evil Spirits.
 
Lord Shiva with Consort Parvathi
 
Lord Shiva with Consort Parvathi
 
In India people venerate twelve "Self-incarnated Lingas" known as Jyothirlingas-the form of Lord Shiva. Here Jyothi means 'Radiance' and lingam the 'Image or Sign' of Shiva; Jyothirlingam thus means the "The Radiant Sign of The Almighty Shiva". There are total twelve famous traditional Jyothirlinga shrines present in India, out of which 5 of them are present in Maharashtra.
 
Twelve Jyothirlingas of Lord Shiva
 
Twelve Jyothirlingas of Lord Shiva
 
According to Shiva Purana:
 
Somnath in Saurashtra (Gujarat), Mallikarjuna at Sri Sailam (Kurnool-Andhra Pradesh), Mahakaleshwar (Ujjain-Madhya Pradesh), Mamleshwar Omkareshwar (Mandhatapur-Madhya Pradesh), Neemar (Madhya Pradesh), Vaidyanath (Jharkhand-Bihar), Bhimashankar (Dakini,Pune-Maharashtra), Rameshwaram (Tamil Nadu), Aundha Naganatha (Jamnagar,Hingoli-Maharashtra), Vishwanath (Banaras-Uttar Pradesh), Tryambakeshwar (Nashik-Maharashtra), Kedareshwar (Himalayas-Uttarkhand), Ghrishneshwar (Rock cut Shiva Temple in Elora Caves near Aurangabad-Maharashtra)
 
The Twelve Jyothirlingas of Lord Shiva
 
The Twelve Jyothirlingas of Lord Shiva
 
Saurashtre Somanaatham Cha Sree Saile Mallikarjunam
Ujjayinyaam Mahaakaalam Omkaare Mamaleswaram
Himalaye to Kedaram Daakinyaam Bhimashankaram
Vaaranaasyaam cha Viswesam Trayambakam Gowtameethate
Paralyaam Vaidyanaatham cha Naagesam Daarukaavane
Setubandhe Ramesham Grushnesam cha Shivaalaye ||
 
Significance of this Sloka: The one who recites these 12 names of Jyothirlingas regularly in the morning and evening will get benefitted by washing away all the sins committed in the previous 7 births and attains all the powers and Siddhis.
 
Today there are some Self Manifested Shiva Lingas unknown to the World, than these Twelve Jyothirlingas in the country. One such is the Shri Dudheshwar Nath Mahadev Temple on the banks of Hindon river in 4759, which is the Gateway to Uttar Pradesh
 
Entrance of Shri Dudheshwar Nath Temple
 
Entrance of Shri Dudheshwar Nath Temple
 
Shri Dudheshwar Nath Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, and is the only self incarnated Shiva Lingam located 2 km away on banks of Hindon River, in 4759, Uttarpradesh, India. It is well stated in Puranas about this temple's existence near the Hindon River. The Shiva Linga (Self-incarnated form of Lord Shiva) in the Temple is one of the must see places in 4759 with many saints, their samadhis present in the temple complex, where one who does worship to the Lord never comes back with empty hand. This temple is frequently visited by College students and the Army soldiers as they have an army base near to this temple.
 
The Divine Jyothirlinga of Dudheshwar Nath Mandir
 
The Divine Jyothirlinga of Dudheshwar Nath Mandir
 
The Hindon river is also known as Harnandi, Hamad and Hirnada who is the daughter of Lord Brahma, the Creator.
 
Lord Shiva is considered the physical form of Lord Brahma, who is well known as Har Har Mahadev, Bhole Shankar and Bholenath. He is One of the God in the Hindu Trinity (3 GODS) :-Lord Brahma-As The Creator, Lord Vishnu-As The Preserver and Lord Shiva-For Destruction and Restoration of Universe. His consort originated from Maa Nav Durga, known as Parvathi. She is also known as Umadevi and Gauri. 
 
History of this Temple:
 
The genuinenous of Shri Dudheshwar Nath Mahadev Math Mandir is historically authenticated and proved. This temple is believed to be 5000 years old. There is also evidence of history related to 550 year old ShriMahant tradition of this temple.
 
According to Legends, Bisrakh a small village used to be a dense forest in 4759. There used to live one great sage named Vishweshwarva who was the father of Ravana and a great devotee of Lord Shiva. As Bisrakh is ancestral village of Ravana, hear nobody celebrates Dussehera or Ramleela. To pay tribute of Ravana's father this village got named as Vishweshwarva Raksh, which is today known as Bisrakh.
 
In Treta Yuga (The Silver Age-the second of the four yugas according the Hindu mythology), before the birth of Lord Rama, Pulasatya used to reside in Bisrakh, who is the father of Kuber, and wished Kuber to meet him whenever possible, but Kuber couldn't make it happen. As Kuber was best friend of Lord Shiva, Pulsatya wanted to use their friendship in favour of him and started doing penance for Lord Shiva in Hindon forest. Upon pleased by Pulasatya's penance, Lord Shiva appeared along with Goddess Parvathi infront of him and said he lives in Kashi and Kailash. As he did penance to Lord Shiva to be present there, Lord Shiva asked him to built second kashi for him (Shiva) where he would stay for ever. 
 
History of this Temple
 
History of this Temple
 
As Mount Kailash is the abode of Lord Shiva, before leaving Hindon, He left a Jyothirlinga as a gift to Pulastya and to other human beings. Thus this is the place where Lord Shiva along with Goddess Parvathi had left this Jyotirlinga as an identification mark which fulfills all the wishes of his devotees, on the banks of river Hindon and a temple got constructed known as Shri Dudheshwar Nath Mahadev Math Mandir.
 
Another Legend says, with the changing time and annihilation Vishweshwarva's Kailash went into oblivion. When people forgot this holy linga a mound was made by nature over the Shri Dudheshwar Jyothirlinga which was covered with green grass, small and big trees. This mound was used to graze the cows by the then people. One day a shepherd noticed a cow grazing there and releasing its milk through their udders on the ground of this holy linga. Upon knowing this instance, the local villagers dug a hole on the spot and got to see this magnificient self incarnated linga which was a surprise to them.  Later, a shrine got constructed at that spot. Hence this Shiv Linga is termed as Dudheshwar (Dudh means Milk in Hindi).
 
During Kaliyug (the last of the four yugas), this self incarnated Hiranygarbha Shri Dudheshwar Jyothirlinga was manifested on the 3rd November, Monday in 1454 A.D. i.e. Month of Kartika Shukla, on Vaikuntha Chaturdashi Thithi, in the year of Vikram Samvat 1511.
 
Significance of this Temple:
 
1)This Jyothirlinga is very well known for its miraculous divine powers which fulfills the wishes of its devotees who come across from different parts of the country to pay their offerings for their desires to be fulfilled and also attracts lots of tourists from across the country all through the year.
2)It is the holy temple for married couples who come for the seek of blessings of an offsprings
Their is also belief that offering milk on this Shiva Linga-"Dudh Abhishekam" cures all the ailments and takes away all the sorrows in one's life.
 
Abhishekam with Milk to Lord Shiva
 
Abhishekam with Milk to Lord Shiva
 
Other Attractions in the Temple:
 
1)This temple has Jeeva Samadhis of some saints who had did penance and got samadhied in the temple itself and had immense powers who fulfills the wishes of the devotees coming here to pray to them. It is believed that devotees get answers from these saints as well.
2)The saints who did panance and got samadhied here are Garib Giri Ji Maharaj, Ilaichi Giri Ji Maharaj, Gujraan Giri Ji Maharaj, Narayan Giri Ji Maharaj, Kailash Giri Ji Maharaj, Ganga Giri Ji Maharaj, Yogi Etbaar Giri Ji Maharaj, Saint Budha Giri Ji Maharaj, Daulat Giri Ji Maharaj and Nithyanand Giri Ji Maharaj.  These saints did penance to seek blessings of Lord Shiva and attained miraculous powers such as turning even mud into Gold.
3)One Saint samadhi named Illachi Maharaj is so popular that he is offered Cardamam on his samadhi. The one who gets their wish fulfilled inturn offers Gold Cardamam to that saint.
4)This temple is having saints doing penance from Treta yuga onwards to seek the blessing of Lord Shiva.
5)The well in the temple premises shows presence of milk in it which is a mystery.
6)The one who visits this temple and worships this jyothirlinga for 40 days and pays tribute to the Lord Shiva gets his wish fulfilled very soon.
7)This temple is also running a Veda Pathshala for the students who recide here and get trained best with the Vedas and on going education.
8)There is a historical fire sacrificial pit (Dhooni) as seen in Shirdi, in the temple premises, which is continuously ignited since 3rd November, 1454 till today. The one who applies this sacred ash of this holy pit on their forehead gets mental peace and boon of fulfillment of their desires.
 
Saints Who Did Penance in this Temple
 
Saints Who Did Penance in this Temple
 
Worship to Saint Samadhis Present in This Temple
 
Worship to Saint Samadhis Present in This Temple
 
Shri Dugdheshwar Nath Math Mandir Uttar Pradesh
 
Shri Dugdheshwar Nath Math Mandir Uttar Pradesh
 
Veda Pathashala and Hawan Kund inside the Temple
 
Veda Pathashala and Hawan Kund inside the Temple
 
Celebration of Festivals:
 
The 4759 city pays homages to all the festivals held in the city and certain occasions. The festivals celebrated here althrough the year are Shivarathri, Diwali, Rama Navami, Holi, Janmashtami, Naga Panchami, etc. This temple draws visitors around 50,000 at the time of Janmashtami which is decorated with lights and bulbs giving it a prestine look at this time.
 
There is a lot of things to tell about this temple which is not possibe to put on paper. Below is the video which illustrates the importance of this temple: Shri Dudheshwarnath Temple Uttar Pradesh 
 
Temple Timings:Temple open in morning from 4:00AM - 7:30PM in evening.
 
Temple Address:
 
Gaushala Road, 
Pratap Vihar, Prem Nagar, 
Madhopura, 
4759, Uttar Pradesh 201009, India
 
Contact Details: 
 
Shri Mahant Narayan Giri Ji: 9990571008/9412223911
 
Website: www.dudheshwarnath.com
Email Id: mahantnarayangiri@gmail.com
 
How to Reach:
 
By Road: 4759 is 20kms to Delhi from where all the means of transport are easily accessible to reach this temple. The 4759 Bus station is around 1 km to the temple. 
 
By Train: There is train facility to 4759 Junction Railway Station-Delhi-Junction Point-NDLS/DLI/MTC/ALJN/MB, of Station Rd, Daulatpura, 4759, Uttar Pradesh Str.(2.17km), and the other is 4759 Railway Station-4759-Arya Nagar Rd Str.(2.18km).
 
By Air: The Nearby Airports to 4759 are Indira Gandhi International Airport-New Delhi (38.4km), Agra Airport-Kheria Air Force Station-Agra (205.61km) and Kheria Airport-Agra (208.27km). 
 
Image Courtesy: www.12jyotirlinga.com, www.dudheshwarnath.com, www.hindutemple.net

7000 year old Nandishwara Teertha Temple in Malleswaram at Bangalore,(India)

7000 year old Nandishwara Teertha Temple in Malleswaram at Bangalore

Nandishwara Teertha Shiva temple in 17th cross street Malleswaram, popularly known as Nandhi temple of Malleswaram was accidentally discovered in 1999 when some construction work was started. When the dug the ground, then entire structure along with the Siva Linga came out. Water flows out from the mouth of a Nandhi and falls on a Shiva Linga. This water is collected in a huge pond. The source of this spring has not yet been found. Live fish and tortoises can be seen in the temple pond.

Entrance to the temple

Entrance to the temple

Nandishwara Teertha Temple Pillars

Nandishwara Teertha Temple Pillars

Nandishwar and Shiva Linga

Nandishwar and Shiva Linga

Nandhi from whose mouth water flows

Nandhi from whose mouth water flows

 Pond where the water gets collected

Pond where the water gets collected

One must visit this temple to experience what is being said above. The architecture of the temple is definitely something very evident.

The area is surrounded by various temples - Malleswaram Shiva Temple (from which the area derives its name), Gangamma Temple, Narasimha Temple, Shirdi Sai Temple etc.

Below are some more images of this temple.


Anandathandavapuram - The Glory of 18 Vadhyama Villages,(India)

Anandathandavapuram - The Glory of 18 Vadhyama Villages
The Glory of 18 Vadhyama Villages - 
 
Anandathandavapuram is village in Mayiladuthurai taluk, Nagapattinam District in Tamil Nadu, India. It is one of the major Vathima villages, as a hyper-prospective village with its folks highly prospective somewhere in the world. This village is located around 5 kms north of Mayiladuthurai. This village is famous with the temples of Perumal, Shiva (BruhanNayaki) and VeerappaSwamy temples. It is also a subsect of Tamil Brahmin Iyers one of the 18 villages of Vathima.
 
Map of Anandathandavapuram Village
 
Map of Anandathandavapuram Village
 
Legend of Anandathandavapuram:
 
Once upon a time there was a hermit by the name Ananda. He was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva. He used to go to any Shiva Temple any time through his yogic powers. It is said that due to his powers He used to take bath in Rameswaram, then go to Chidambaram and from there again go to Mahendramalai (one of the holy mountains of Lord Shiva situated sourthern most region of Tamilnadu) for meditation. This was his daily routine. By night he would be in Anandathandavapuram.
 
On the day of Thiruvathirai, when it was very chill in the morning Lord Shiva decided to test his devotee, an auspicious day for Shiva puja and all the Shiva temples wore a festive look. It is stated that Rain started lashing and that it didn't stop. There is a story stating that during rains He could not use his yogic powers nor go to any Shiva temple for Darshan and the hermit couldn't use his yogic abilities too on this day. He was deeply in sorrow and prepared to end his life. It is further stated that Shiva and his consort appeared before him and performed 'Ananda Thandavam' (Happy dance) thandavam for him. Since then this village came to be known as "Anandathandavapuram", as Lord Shiva danced here.
 
Population and Other Facilities:
  
As per the 2001 census, the total population of Anandathandavapuram village is 3560, which has 1796 males and 1764 females. The sex ratio was 982 and the literacy rate, 76.4. Earlier, there were around hundred families from Vadhyama community and now it declined around to 40.
 
Apart from the Temples and the Railway Station this village also has facilities of Post office, Govt. School, Pharmacy with Doctor and Grocery shop at Agraharam. However, the past generation had the education in Mayiladuthurai and Chidambaram as they are near.
 
Altogether here are three streets including the double street, together known as London Street.
 
A Street in Anandathandavapuram
 
A Street in Anandathandavapuram
 
Temples in Andandathandavapuram:
 
Sri Pachavateeswarar Temple:
 
Sri Pachavateeswarar Temple is the main temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, having separate Sannadhis for other deities as well. The one near to main Garbhagruham is Shri Jadanathar sannidhi, outside to it is Lord Nataraja utsava murthy and near to it is Shri Brahannayagi sannidhi. In the outside prakaram there is a Sannidhi for Shri Dakshinamurthy, Pillayar, Murugan with his consorts and in the Eesanyamoola (North-East Corner) there is Sri Mahalakshmi Sannidhi. The main Goddess Sri Kalyanasundari and Sri Durgai Amman Sannidhis are in outside prakaram. Recently, people of this village have installed Pillayar and Lord Anjaneya idols.
 
Panchavateeswarar Temple in Anandathandavapuram
 
Panchavateeswarar Temple in Anandathandavapuram
 
Sri Panchavateeswarar Temple Top in Anandathandavapuram
 
Sri Panchavateeswarar Temple Top in Anandathandavapuram
 
Opposite to the temple is one Periya Kulam (temple tank). There is one small mandapam near to the temple where in those days, sanyasis used to come and stay there. But today it doesn't exist. Near to kurukkals house is situated one or two brindavanam (Garden).
 
Periya Kulam Temple Tank in Anandathandavapuram
 
Periya Kulam Temple Tank in Anandathandavapuram
 
Sri Mariamman Temple:
 
After the main temple comes the Sri Mariamman Temple, where a 10 day utsav is held during the month of Chithirai as is done in other villages. In between the two houses there is also a Perumal Temple and Pillayar Koil in the street.
 
Sri Aiyanar Temple:
 
Another famous temple is Sri Aiyanar koil. In contrast to Purana and pushkalamba, the consorts of Ayyanar in most of the places, here we see sundaramba @ sokkayi samedha Sri Thiruvarasamurthy is kuladeviam for some people. People from faraway places used to come for worship. Veteran singer Sri G.N.Balasubramanian has written a song on this ayyanar – maamakuleswaram in the raga thodi, stating this saastha is his kuladeivam.
 
And last our Sri Veerappasway is kuladeviam to most of the Vadhyamas. There is a particular type of Pooja called as Veerappasway Pongal or Pallyam.
 
Celebrations special to this village:
 
Durgai Amman Pongal: 
 
***It is usually celebrated on Fridays, in Thai month (the tamil month) by 7 or 8 families.
***Six marakkal (a measuring unit) rice is cooked and put in a big tray (this tray is made especially for this purpose).
***After breaking the Coconuts they are kept in four corners.
***Palliyam pooduthal - It is square in shape and contains vettirlai, Pakku, banana, vellam which are also kept in four corners along with coconuts. 
***Also 1 litre of milk is poured in the middle of the tray.
***The Priest performs puja by invocating Durgai Amman in the ghatam.
***After the puja, Deeparadhana is shown.
***A Small amount of rice is kept aside for the family.
***The remaining rice is distributed to other community.
***Also 1 padi rice is given separately to the temple for Durgai Amman.
***All family members meet on that day.
***All the neighbours are invited for the puja and offered lunch.
 
Sri Jayanti Celebrations:
 
During Sri Jayanti, girls will put up a drama. One or two groups will be formed. Each group would then go to all the houses and collect money. People used to give five or ten paise or Naalana. Maximum will be one rupee. With that money they will buy some pencil, rubber, scale etc. On that day of sri jayanthi, in the evening we will go to all the house with one tumbler and ask for oil. They will put one or two spoons of oil in each tumbler. We will collect all the oil and give it to a small hotel in the village’s bus stand (Iyengar coffee club) . In return the hotel man will give a small packet of kara boondhi, in required number. On the night of sri jayanth,i we will have a stage play from silappathigaram ( that is kannagi 's kall silambu odaithal part). The girls will arrange themselves on the stage, and screen, crowns for king etc will be made out of card board and colour paper. Even the elders would come and enjoy the show. At the end prizes will be distributed and the kaaraa boondhi packets too to all those who participated. While collecting the oil the girls use to sing a song.
 
Its been more than 200 years that every year the Srijayanthi Utsavam (during Krishnashtami) is being celebrated with great enthusiam. The Panguni Uttiram in Thiruvarasamurthy Ayyanar temple, is celebrated in a grand scale with Thrikalyana utsavam and every year during the month of January Radha Kalyanam is also celebrated.
Monthly Pradoshams and Shivarathri are celebrated in the temple. Thai Poosam is the most important annual festival celebrated by the temple which attracts devoted from neighboring villages and taluks.
 
srijayanthi ambalam, sivarathri ambalam, pattani ambalam, baranai ambalam ,
Sri krishnukku ennaio ennai.
 
Temple Timings:
 
The temple is open from 6:00 AM-10:00 AM and from 5:00 PM-8:00 PM.
 
How to Reach:
 
Mayiladuthurai is just 5 kms away from this village
 
By Road: This village can be reached by town bus (No.7) and minibuses with other modes of transportaion available there. 
 
By Train: There is also a small Railway Station within the limits of this village in the Mayiladuthurai – Chidambaram train route.
 
By Air: Nearest Airport is located at Trichy.

 

Image Courtesy:


Ancient Caves in Andhra Pradesh,(India)

Ancient Caves in Andhra Pradesh
India has many Ancient Temples,Mosques,Churches,Gurudwaras,Palaces,Museums,Rivers and other Monuments in its accord.  Here are some of the Ancient Caves present in Andhrapradesh which are also a popular tourist destinations and marks history. 
 
1)Undavalli Caves in Undavalli(Guntur):
 
These Caves represent a fine model of Indian rock cut architecture,located in the Undavalli village of Guntur district,as one of the popular tourist destination of Southern India in Andhra Pradesh situated 8 kms from Vijayawada and 280 kms from Hyd Airport.
 
These are ancient rock cut caves of four stories giving a glimpse of 4th or 5th century. There is a massive statue of Lord Vishnu inside these caves seen in a reclining position. This statue was sculpted from a single block of granite and has other shrines also dedicated as Trimurti,Brahma and Shiva in these caves.
   
 
These caves are associated with Vishnukundin Kings who ruled this place around 420 and 620 AD. These caves are also dedicated to dieties like Lord Anantapadmanabha Swamy and Lord Narasimha Swamy. They present a panaromic view of Krishna River and the beautiful landscapes around it.
 
2)Guthikonda Caves in Guthikonda(Guntur):
 
These caves are also known as "Guthikonda Bilam" as there is a nearby village named 'Bilam' and these caves are located 3kms south of the Guthikonda village,lying 23kms from Gurazal,in Guntur district. These caves are located amidst of thick forests along the side of Krishna Delta in Guntur about 40 kms from the Bay of Bengal and a popular tourist destination. This place comprises of many small rivers and water channels flowing through it namely: Guntur Channel,Guntur Branch Canal,Chandravanka,and Naagileru.These Caves are one of the prime attractions of Guntur situated near Karampudi 38kms from Narasararaopet.
 
Guntur has a rich cultural diversity with many beautiful and ancient temples and is also known as the melting pot of religions,cultures and communities. The main festivals celebrated here are Diwali,Ram Navami,Sankranti,Ugadi,Vijaya Dasami,Eid and Christmas.
 
The "Kalachakra Festival" of Guntur is one of the main attractions held at Amravati,derived from the term used in Tantric Buddhism which means time-wheel.
 
There are evidents that many Rishis and Saints had meditated in these caves and famously known as Dakshina Kashi. It was a resting place of Sage Muchukunda Maha Muni and has a temple on his name. There are several other shrines inside these caves dedicated to Anjaneya Swamy,Sri Raja Rajeswari Devi,Siddhi Vinayaka Swamy,Bala Malleswara Swamy,Nava Grahalu(Nine planets) and holy snakes. There is an ancient Palanati Nagamma Idol(Snake Hood) at the entrance of this cave. One can even visit the tombs of Yogini Kola Peramambha and other people who served pilgrims at this place and has several Shiva Lingas like Chikati Mallayya. These caves have been home to people of prehistoric age and has one of the ehalcolithic aged copper sword casted in Bilam,thus Guthikonda Bilam are well known part of these caves.
 
3)Mogalarajapuram Caves in Vijayawada:
 
These Caves are situated in Vijayawada of Andhrapradesh which is a very popular Tourist Destination of South India and third largest city located on the banks of River Krishna and home to three famous temples,one such is the Holy Shrine of Goddess Durga is situated on Indrakeeladri Hills. It is the major link between the three main regions of Andhra Pradesh.
 
The history of Vijayawada dates back to prehistoric times as people here are found to be settled from the Stone Age along the banks of the Krishna River. One visited to this place one can see even the Mythological significance attached to this place.
                                                               Mogalrajapuram Caves - Wikipedia
                                                                                           Moghalrajapuram Caves in Vijayawada
 
These Caves being the prime attraction of Vijayawada consists of three cave temples which give a glimpse of 5th century. Most of the temples of that time have lost their glory and are left only with the architectural beauty. Among these three,One of the temples still lies in a good condition. The Idols of two deities Lord Nataraja and Lord Vinayak could be found in the cave temples of the Mogalarajapuram Caves.
 
The uniqueness of this Cave lies in the presence of Ardhanareswara Idol found in the caves temple, which is not found in any other part of the South India.
 
4)Yaganti Caves in Kurnool District:
 
These are natural caves which are located at 100kms from Kurnool and 14kms west of Banaganapalle which is an Mandal headquarters on the Banaganapalle-Peapully road. It is considered one of the popular tourist sites of Southern India. It is also an pilgrimage site which even offers beautiful scenery and mind blowing landscapes. These Caves are also known as Agasthya Caves as Sage Agasthya did his penance here to seek blessings of Lord Shiva. There is an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva as "Sri Yaganti Uma Maheswara Temple" or "Yaganti" a temple in Kurnool District of Andhrapradesh. One can visit this temple by climbing the 120 steep steps present in the caves and have darshan of the dieties Lord Shiva,Parvathi and Nandhi.
                                                                 CHODAVARAMNET: Brief History about Agastya Cave - Yaganti - Kurnool dist -  Andhrapradesh - India - Must visit tourist spot
                                                                                                                 The Agastya Cave
                                                                 Yaganti Temple Mystery - The Mysterious Growing Nandi Of Yaganti Temple
Uma Maheshwara Temple in Yaganti Caves
 
Legend says that when Sage Agasthya was doing his penance crows distrubed him and Agasthya cursed them not to enter this temple. Hence Lord Shani Deva who's Vahana(Transport) is a crow can't enter into the premises of this temple.
   
 
The temple has a famous 'Pushkarani" of which water flows from bottom of the hills through the mouth of the Nandhi(Bull) and has a saying that Sage Agasthya bathed in this Pushkarni and did penance for Lord Shiva. The water of Pushkarni is very sweet and meant auspicious to take holy bath and highly beneficial. 
                                                              Hindu Cosmos — Pushkarini of Yaganti Temple, Andhra Pradesh ...
 
    Pushkarni in one of the Yaganti Caves Temple
 
There is a huge Nandhi(Bull) infront of this temple which according to 'Archaeological Survey of India' studies increases about to one inch size in every 20 years, and had been predicted by Saint Potuluri Lord Veera Brahmendra Swamy that the Nandhi called as 'Basavanna'(stone nandhi) of Yaganti will come alive and shout at the end of Kali Yuga.
                                                              Yaganti Sri Uma Maheswara Swamy Temple and Huge Nandi - Kurnool - Indian  Temples List
 
    The Yaganti Nandhi Statue believed to be growing in size
 
"Maha Shivarathri" is the festival celebrated with great fanfare as large number of devotees flaung to this temple from all parts of the Andhrapradesh.
 
These resemble like the Rokalla Caves, Venkateshwara Caves(There is an ancient damaged idol of "Lord Shri Venkateshwara Swamy" present in this cave,which is said to be present before the "Tirumala Tirupathi Venkateshwara Swamy Temple" was constructed with damaged foot of the Lord and hence not worshipped. The famous Saint "Potuluri Veera Brahmendra Swamy" told in his "Kalagynanam" that this place stands as an alternative to Tirupathi.) ,Sanka Caves and Veera Brahmam Caves which are equally marvelous and adds beauty to this exotic place.
 
One of the most famous Saints "Potuluri Lord Veera Brahmendra Swamy's" "Kalagynanam" is a colossal piece of work which was written in this Yaganti Caves helps one understand the glorious history of these caves. 
 
5)Belum Caves in Kurnool:
 
These Caves name is derived from Sanskrit word namely Belum and are situated at Kolimigundla Mandal of Kurnool district 320 kms from Hyderabad and 3kms from Belum Caves. The cave length is around 3kms of which 2kms length is left for public viewing and near the entry a 20 meters descent can be seen which leads to the main passage of the cave. These cave have incredible stalactite and stalagmite formations with Black Limestone and deposits of Quartz in the caves, which highlight the beauty of these caves. These caves are the second largest in Indian Subcontinent after Krem Liat Prah caves of Meghalaya.
   
 
Recently,the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation has discovered the Saptasvarala Guha or even called as Musical Chamber. The other caves include in this region are Billasurgam caves,Sanyasulacaves,Yaganti caves,
Yerrajari caves and Muchchatla Chintamanu caves which are called as 'Gavi' in Telugu.
 
Main features of this caves are:
  • Pillidwaram:It's a natural arch of stalactites formed in the shape of a lion’s head and known as cats gate.
  • Saptasvaralu Guha:It is even called as Musical Chambers as it produce metallic sound effects from the stalactites,have fresh water galleries,siphons and the light coming from these caves is very soft giving soothing and cooling effect.
  • Thousand Hoods:It has amazing stalactite formations shaped like hood of Cobra on the ceiling as if thousands of cobras have opened their hoods.
  • Patalganga:It's a small perennial stream flowing into the depths of the earth from the southeast to northwest. There is a belief that it heads towards a well at the Belum village situated 2kms away from these caves.
  • Kotilingalu Chamber:This consists of stalactite formations which are akin to Shiva Lingams having thousands of such stalactite formations giving it a surrealistic look with a huge pillar formed by stalactite and stalagmite joining together. 
  • Dhyan Mandir or Meditation Hall:It is near entrance of the cave and the hall looks like a bed with pillow to recline. There are evidences that sages used to live here and it was used by Buddhist Monks of which some are preserved in the museum of Ananthpur.
  • Mandapam:It is a place inside the cave having magnificent stalactite structures on the its both sides presenting a look of a hall with pillars.
  • Banyan Tree Hall:Its a huge pillar with stalactites hanging from the ceiling and giving a look of Banyan Tree when seen from below with its aerial roots called as "Voodalamari" since they appear like a Banyan Tree with its aerial roots hanging from the branches.
  •                                                                              Belum Caves
   Evidence of Buddha's statue near Belum Caves
Visitors gathered beneath the meditation hall at Belum Caves - Treebo Blog
 
   Meditation Hall inside Belum Caves

 
 
Structure of Banyan Tree formation inside Belum Caves
6)Borra Caves in Kirinrandal:
 
These Caves are also known as 'Borra Guhalu' where Guhalu means Caves in Telugu. These Caves are situated in the Ananthagiri hills of the Araku Valley,and the second largest natural caves located 90kms from Vishakhapatnam and drained by the Gosthani River, in the Indian subcontinent which is stretched over the Eastern Ghats occupying an area of two square kms at a height of 1400ft. It being one of the popular tourist destinations takes us back to more than One million years history.
 
There is a Shiva Lingam inside the caves which has a legend that when a cow grazing on top of the cave fell inside from a hole of the roof and Lord Shiva rescued it and thus locals worship this Lingam as the form of Lord Shiva and constructed a small temple for him outside the cave and come to get a glimpse of this Lingam present inside the cave. There is a famous saying that udder of this cow is the source of the Gosthani River (Sanskrit: Cow’s udder) which was originated from here and flows through Vizianagram and Visakhapatnam districts before debouching into the Bay of Bengal near Bheemunipatnam.

                                                                     Worship Of Stalagmite Lingam Inside The Borra Caves - FindMessages.com
 
Worship of Stalagmite Shiva Lingam inside the Borra Caves
 
This cave is also known as Limestone caves formed by the Gosthani River,as this region was full of limestone deposits which were eroded by the river for many years and thus formed the Borra Caves.
 
The other tourist attractions near this cave are Tyada Railway Tunnel,Damuku View Point,Ananthagiri Coffee Plantation,Padmapuram Gardens and the Araku Valley.
 
 
 
Image Courtesy:en.wikipedia.org,www.trawell.in,www.panaramio.com,

Baratang Island in Andaman and Nicobar Islands,(India)

Baratang Island in Andaman and Nicobar Islands
 
Baratang Island is a gateway to South and Middle Andaman Islands which are part of Indian Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It is one of the main islands of the Great Andaman group with natural habitat and wonders, which closely set archipelago in the Bay of Bengal, adjoining the Andaman Sea.  Although it is not that famous in Tourism sector but is popular for having Beautiful Beaches, Mangrove Creeks, Mud-Volcanoes and Limestone Caves lying around 150kms (93mi) north from Port Blair. Port Blair being the capital of the Indian Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands is located around 45kms (28mi) from the southern tip of Baratang. The NH 223 ( Andaman Trunk Road) is the only road line connected to North Andaman and its places from Baratang Jetty like Rangat (71kms), Mayabunder (141kms), Kadamtala (28kms) and Diglipur (203kms) through this island. 
 
Baratang contains the only known examples of Mud Volcanoes present in India. The Mud Volcanos and Limestone Caves in Nayadera are the major tourist attraction spots in Baratang. Thus, People willing to visit the Limestone Caves and The Mud Volcanos have to take journey through this island from the thick, dense forest area known as 'Jarawa Tribe Reserve' for about 50kms by road. This reserve is native to local people called as Jarawa Tribals. Hence, One can explore the Limestone Caves at Baratang with the permission of Forest Department and help of local folk guidance.
                                                  
 
 
Baratang Island at Andaman and Nicobar Islands
 
Major Attractions:
 
The major attractions are the Limestone Caves, The Mud Volcanos, Parrot Island, and Baludera Beach.
  
1)Limestone Caves at Baratang Island:
 
From Baratang island one can board the Nilambur Jetty to reach the Lime Stone Caves which is about 30mins boat ride through a wide creek leading to Nayadera Jetty, from where it is 1 1/2km board-walk winding through the tropical forest full of Mangrove Trees at a distance of about 240mts. It depends on the tourists interest how to reach the destination either directly by boat ride or through the board walk to reach Nayadera jetty. 
 
 
Journey through Mangrove creeks to Limestone Caves
 
Limestones are a sedimentary (Stalagmite) rock formations formed at the bottom of the sea with gradual deposits of few ingredients such as marine life, skeletons, corals and shells, due to the compression over millions of years ago.
 
As one reaches here they can view how some of these sedimentary limestone formations are hanging from the top and some growing from the ground. With the time passing these caves are constantly evolving in shape and size, and are the prime tourist attractions of this place. 
                                                     
 
Lime Stone deposits hanging from the Top
 
2)Mud Volcanos at Baratang Island:
 
To reach the Mud Volcano one has to take journey through the road of Jarwan Tribal Reserve (forest area) and cross the sea at Baratang jetty which is around 20 mins journey at a walkable distance of 250-300 mts from Baratang. Taking photographs of these tribes and interaction with them is strictly prohibited while passing through this way. 
 
A Mud Volcano is formed with the emission of natural gases by decaying organic matter present underground. As this Mud is pushed upwards by the gas, the Mud starts depositing and hardens above the ground level and when more Mud oozes out it spills over the edge growing in size, thus resulting in the form of a miniature volcano with the texture of rich, creamy mud crater at the top.
                                                   
 
The Mud Volcano at Baratang Island
 
3)Parrot Island at Baratang Island:
 
The Parrot Island near Baratang Island is a natural habitat for parrots living in this region. This island attracts a number of tourists as it gives a wonderful sight of Thousands of parrots returning home before sunset, and the sunset is worth seeing. One needs to take a boat ride from Baratang Jetty and cross through a creek to reach this secluded island, and the journey would be around 30 mins.
                                                  
 
 
The Parrot Island at Baratang Island
 
It is advisable to visit this place in the evenings to watch these thousands of parrots flocking together, roosting here and which leave the island the next morning. In the mean time they trim the island leaving it perfectly pruned. The birds which come to Parrot Island are known as Parakeets as they are varied groups.
 
 
Parrakeets in Parrot Island of Baratang Island
 
4)Baludera Beach at Baratang Island:
 
Baludera Beach is situated in Baratang Island and is well known as an unpolluted shallow and isolated beach till recently. This serene beach is only 9km from the Nilambur jetty, and is hidden away from the crowd as very few visitors turn up here and the locals come here on weekends for picnic. This beach has eco-friendly huts and tree top huts. Nowadays it is also being promoted by the Forest Department. Frequently the Elephant Safari is the latest adventure added to this Beach.
 
 
Baludera Beach of Baratang Island
 
                                              
 
Elephant Safari at Baludera Beach of Baratang Island
 
Language and Permit in the Island:
 
Coming to languages spoken in Andaman and Nicobar Islands the Union Territory has people using different languages as it is a cluster of islands having people from different communities and cultural backgrounds. Hindi is the official language spoken here as it was mostly inhabited by the Hindu communities and hence major languages spoken here are Bengali (32.6 %), Hindi (25.95 % ), Telugu and Nicobarese (18.93 %) and Tamil especially Sri Lankan Tamil (17.84 %). English is also spoken here but not much used in this island.
 
This territory is indigenous to a huge population of different tribal communities and Nicobarese is one of the languages used by the local tribes mainly in the Nicobar Islands for administrative purposes. The other tribal languages are Andamanese, Onge, Sentinelese and Jarawa. The reason behind its vast diversity are the people who were migrated from different states and communities to serve the punishment of "Kaala Pani" during the British rule. 
 
Foreign Tourists visiting this place are required to attain a permit to stay from the Indian Immigration Authorities (IIA) who issue a 30-day permit to visit the Andaman Islands. As the Foreign nationals are not given permission to visit the Nicobar Islands, they can extend their stay by another 15 days.
 
1)Night Halt: The places covered by permit are South Andaman Island, Middle Andaman Island and Little Andaman Island (except tribal reserve), Havelock Island, Long Island, Neil Island, Diglipur, Baratang Island, North Passage and islands in the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park (permission to this park is mandatory for Night halt). 
2)Day Halt: The places covered by permit are Ross Island, South Cinque Island,  Narcondum Island, Interview Island, Sister Island, Brother Island and Barren Island (it can be visited by board vessels only).
 
Indian citizens need not require any sort of permission to visit the Andaman Islands. But, the permits are mandatory to visit Nicobar Islands and other tribal areas, which are given in exceptional cases.
 
Contact Information:
 
Tourist Information Centre : Directorate of Tourism,
                                                  Andaman & Nicobar Administration Port Blair
 
Phone No: 03192- 232694/232747(F)
 
Accomodation in the Island:
 
There are Forest and PWD guest houses are available for the visitors visiting this place. There are some private accomodations also available, but stay would be comfortable if booked earlier. As the majority of the people are from Hindu communities there are different flavours of south indian food also available to the tourists visiting this place and one can really relish on them as well.
 
Best Time to Visit Andaman and Nicobar Islands: Mid November - April.
 
How to Reach:
 
By Sea: Major Transportation is by Sea through 2 Jetty's in Port Blair. There are 2 ferry crosses: "Bamboo Trikery" Jetty and "Nilambur" Jetty.
 
Regular passenger ship services are also available to Port Blair from major cities like Chennai, Kolkata and Vishakhapatnam to and fro. There are 3 - 4 sailings every month from Kolkata and Chennai to Port Blair and vice-versa, and one sailing from Vishakhapatnam in a month. The journey through sea takes for about 50 to 60 hrs and the ship normally berths at Port Blair for about 2 to 4 days. 
 
By Road: Baratang is approx. 100 kms away from Port Blair and takes 2.5 hrs by bus or ferry from Port Bliar. To reach Baratang one has to travel by road and cross a creek on a vehicle ferry at Middle Strait. Regular bus services are available from STS Bus Terminal, Aberdeen Bazar. There are plenty of Government, Private Buses and other Transports available which connect Port Blair with other points on Grand Andaman, including Baratang Island (2.5 hrs), Rangat (6 hrs) and Diglipur (8 hrs).
 
By Air: Port Blair has the main Airport where one can fly with ease of daily and weekly flights from the major cities of our country. The airlines providing regular flight services to Port Blair to reach Andaman and Nicobar Islands are Jet Airways and Alliance Air/Indian Airlines. It is advisable to book your tickets in advance to avoid heavy rush during the vacations and make your trip comfortable and memorable.

Image Courtesy:www.andamans.gov.in, tripadvisor.com, welcomenri.com, visitandaman.co.in, www.volcano.si.edu